The burden of sharps injuries and splashes among trauma health care workers

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#IVTEAM #Intravenous literature: “In our study, doctors were found to have the highest exposure (129, 36.2%), followed by nurses (52, 14.6%) and hospital waste disposal staff (27, 7.6%). Of the source patients, a high number of them were HBV positive (11, 3.1%), followed by HIV positive patients (8, 2.2%).” Rajkumari et al (2014).

Reference:

Rajkumari, N., Thanbuana, B.T., John, N.V., Gunjiyal, J., Mathur, P. and Misra, M.C. (2014) A prospective look at the burden of sharps injuries and splashes among trauma health care workers in developing countries: True picture or tip of iceberg. Injury. March 1st. [epub ahead of print].

Abstract:

OBJECTIVES: Health care workers (HCWs) face constant risk of exposure to cuts and splashes as occupational hazard. Hence, a prospective observational study was conducted to observe the exposure of HCWs to various sharp injuries and splashes during health care and to work up a baseline injury rate among HCWs for future comparison in trauma care set ups.

METHODS: A 2 year and 5 month study was conducted among the voluntarily reported exposed HCWs of the APEX trauma centre. Such reported cases were actively followed for 6 months after testing for viral markers and counselled. The outcomes of such exposed HCWs and rate of seroconversion was noted. To form a future reference point, the injury rate in trauma care HCWs based on certain defined parameters along with the rate of under reporting were also analysed in this study.

RESULTS: In our study, doctors were found to have the highest exposure (129, 36.2%), followed by nurses (52, 14.6%) and hospital waste disposal staff (27, 7.6%). Of the source patients, a high number of them were HBV positive (11, 3.1%), followed by HIV positive patients (8, 2.2%). No seroconversion was seen in any of the exposed HCWs. Injuries by sharps (303, 85.1%) outnumber those due to splashes (53, 14.9%) which were much higher in those working in pressing situations. Underreporting was common, being maximally prevalent in hospital waste disposal staff (182, 51.1%).

CONCLUSIONS: High rates of exposure to sharp injuries and splashes among HCWs call for proper safety protocols. Proper methods to prevent it, encouraging voluntary reporting and an active surveillance team are the need of the hour.

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